Weathering the Storm: Brands Adapt to the Pandemic through Storytelling

Authored by Smita Rajgopal, Founder and Creative Director at SMITTEN 

The pandemic has been an unprecedented crisis, bringing with it multiple challenges for people, companies and governments across the world. It has resulted in brands going back to the drawing board, so to speak, and reassess their strategies and spending across departments, including the marketing departments.

This has put brands in a difficult situation as effective communication, which keeps the bond between company and consumer alive, is necessary. In crisis times, the first thing that consumers expect from their favourite brands is clear communication and messaging.

 As a result, brands have started identifying storytelling tools which leverage communication design to spread their message to the target audience in the most efficient manner.

An Uncertain Future

 Uncertainty. It's probably the biggest challenge for brands in these times, as it affects their ability to focus on long-term goals. Reacting to the situation, most brands across industries have reined in their marketing initiatives and ad spends.

 The answer to this is in studying the market and understanding the customer sentiment and behaviour. Digital communication has become popular, due to its cost-effectiveness and wide reach.

 Digital Storytelling

 Over the years, storytelling has emerged as a buzzword in business communication. Stories add a personal touch to the brands’ message and make it more convincing and more human.

 Digital storytelling during the pandemic has not only evolved but also adapted to current issues that traditional storytelling has missed out on. It has enhanced communication in a way that keeps the audience interested by showing them what they want because of the issues that are relevant to them.

 Here are some points to be considered while crafting effective messages:

 Comradeship through consistent communication

 Brands need to create loyalty and trust not with just the target demographic but with a broader audience. This can be done through consistent communication from the brands, not only delivering the key messaging to its audience but to engage in other aspects too. In crisis times, brands should portray how they feel about the situation and should be mindful of the words and the voice that they used in their communication.

 Crisp and precise storytelling

 Clear and concise messages are always effective and have the potential to reach the maximum number of people. A shorter tagline and a minute-long video are expected to get shared on social media more than other approaches, thereby seeking maximum audience traction.

 Relevant and meaningful messaging

 A brand always needs to keep in mind the relevancy of the situation while communicating with its customers. While ensuring relevance, meaningful messaging at regular intervals is necessary to voice out the brand’s thoughts effectively.

 The pandemic can be considered as an opportunity to pave the way for emerging technologies. It will result in a long-term upward shift, enabling the power of digital platforms and integration into our daily routines.

 Brands are focusing more on building narratives that are compelling for the audience. For example, brands have conceptualized campaigns that focus on the need for a particular task to be performed remotely in one’s own home instead of visiting a store. Additionally, brands have also developed stories that focus on people who work from home.

 With a new normal for the foreseeable future, brands are expected to communicate in a more human way and build customer relationships stronger than ever before in order to meet their business goals.


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